Correctly using solar

Discussion in 'Camping Green' started by erdvm1, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. erdvm1

    erdvm1 New Member

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    So I have a 12v deep cycle battery and have a Go Power 80 watt solar panel coming.
    What is the proper way to use the solar power while protecting the battery?
    All the basic tips regarding fully discharging and fully recharging.
    Is it ok to just leave the panel hooked up at all times?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member

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    We have the Goal Zero system. We had to buy a charge controller to the pup's 12v. system; it protects the battery from over-charging (IIRC), as well preventing the battery discharging through the panels at night. We put the panels out as we set up camp and they stay connected the whole time.
    Check out the 12-volt side of life Unstable Tripod and others have linked to in other threads. There is a handy chart there on % discharge of the 12v batteries. You don't want to use the battery to below about 50%; repeated discharging below that will kill a battery.
    We also have a Goal Zero, free-standing storage battery to charge Kindles, etc. or power a LED lantern anywhere in camp. That can be discharged, with no issues.
     
  3. Unstable_Tripod

    Unstable_Tripod Well, there's your problem!

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    I second kitphantom's advice on getting o good charge controller. HERE is the article she mentioned.
     
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  4. weathervane

    weathervane The wife and I along with our 3 children.

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    I agree with the posts above.

    A good charge control unit is a must. I leave my panel hooked up for weeks at a time. When the batteries are fully charged, the control unit goes into float mode. It keeps them fully charged and does not over charge them.

    -Andrew
     
  5. erdvm1

    erdvm1 New Member

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    Does the go power panel have a charge controller inside?
     
  6. colorado_camper

    colorado_camper Member

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    Unlikely. Assuming it is a 12v output panel, it will be delivering somewhere between 16/19 volts without a load. You don't want to put that much voltage at 80w output into your battery. There will be a VOC rating on the specs which is that number. Post a link to the solar panel you bought and we can look at it.
     
  7. erdvm1

    erdvm1 New Member

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    Thank you for all the help
    http://gpelectric.com/files/gpelectric/Docs/Specs/Go_Power_SPC_GP-PSK-80-120.pdf
    If this does not have it would you mind sending a link to what I should buy?
    :)
     
  8. teejaywhy

    teejaywhy Active Member

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    According to that datasheet, it has a built-in PWM controller. Looks like you are good to go.

    In your original post you mentioned something about fully discharging... you don't want to do that with a flooded cell battery.

    Here is a good battery FAQ from a solar vendor with lots of other good info on their web site including info on what is a charge controller and why you need one.
    http://www.solar-electric.com/deep-cycle-battery-faq.html
     
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  9. gojeepgo

    gojeepgo New Member

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    erdvm1--- How do you like the Go Power solar kit? I was just looking at them this past week and was thinking of going with that brand. I would like to know what you think of the quality of the panel and the controller.
     
  10. WendyLouWho

    WendyLouWho Wendy & Marlin

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    Subscribing to learn more...
     
  11. Indiobravo

    Indiobravo New Member

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    wow - thanks for the link to the article - it's excellent.
     

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